“Maveth” – aired 12/8/2015 – ***** Stars
Written by Jeffrey Bell
Directed by Vincent Misiano
*spoilers contained within*
The word “maveth” is Hebrew for death, according to Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe). Well, there was plenty of death in the explosive mid-season finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), Ward (Brett Dalton) and Coulson (Clark Gregg) do battle on the alien planet while Mack (Henry Simmons) leads the team on Earth against Hydra’s soldiers to take down the portal and save their friends. Let’s start on the alien planet where Fitz is leading Ward’s Hydra soldiers on an exploratory mission. Tensions are high and sparks fly as the two get into fisticuffs over which direction to go on the planet. When cooler heads prevail, the squad discovers a sculpture shaped like the Hydra octopus which means the stories are true that they have been here before. Fitz goes off on his own for a short distance where he finds a hatch and goes down it. Ward tells his men to look for an exit just in case Fitz is using it to escape.
Fitz was not using the hatch to escape, but does stumble upon Will (Dillon Casey) sleeping in a bunk. Will recognizes him when Ward jumps in, gun raised to Fitz, but he says Will can show them around the planet better than he can. Ward doesn’t trust Fitz’s claim and is about to kill Will when he discovers the Project Distant Star patch on his sleeve. Ward lets him go and agrees to use him as a guide. As they venture on, a sandstorm hits, which Will uses as cover to take out some of Ward’s men. Fitz and Will then wander off together, looking for anything Simmons may have seen and a way out. They are not the only ones looking for a way out though.
In last week’s episode, “Closure” Coulson dove off of the jet and managed to get through the portal just as Malick was sealing it but hits his head on a rock when he lands. In this episode we see a dream sequence of him in bed with Rosalind (Constance Zimmer) saying he wants to sleep, but she says he can’t that he must finish his work. He wakes up and wanders the planet when he sees Ward. He takes out the rest of Ward’s team and shoots Ward. He holds Ward at gunpoint and makes him lead Coulson to Fitz and the portal home. As he leads Ward, he notices shadows in the distance which turn out to be Fitz and Ward. They stumble upon the ruins of an ancient city which Will says was one of nine on the planet before its inhabitants went to war with each other and wiped themselves out. When Fitz asks how he knows this, Will says he was there for it and then attacks Fitz. Fitz fights valiantly, but Will has him down and is about to kill him with a rock when Coulson shoots him. He gets up, but Fitz unloads on him until he is down for good and then burns him alive. Ward attacks Coulson, but he fights back, killing Ward, or so he thinks, then detaching his fake hand and joining Fitz to head through the portal.
Back on Earth, the battle raged on as Mack leads the team to England to storm Hydra’s base and take control of the portal to bring Fitz, Coulson, and even Will, home. Mack addresses Hunter (Nick Blood) and Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) on the matter of how they let Coulson jump out of the plane. Hunter says he tried to stop him, but didn’t want to put himself in danger. Bobbi is sure Coulson is fine but Mack doesn’t want to hear it. Daisy (Chloe Bennet) then chimes in over the loudspeaker to say Hydra is moving Inhumans to the castle. The strategy to take the castle is to go in silent with no weapons. Mack orders them to split up into two teams with himself, Hunter and Bobbi infiltrating the castle while Daisy, Lincoln (Luke Mitchell), May (Ming-Na Wen) and Joey (Juan Pablo Raba) rescue Fitz, Simmons and Coulson.
The team starts underground when Joey melts a sewer grating for Bobbi, Mack and Hunter so they can slowly gain access to the castle from underground. He then orders Daisy, Joey, Lincoln and May to take out any forces around the outside of the castle. They discover a tent with lights, technology and soldiers. Lincoln sneaks around the back and cuts off the power. Under cover of darkness, they move in just as Simmons frees herself and escapes the tent. Simmons hides in a storage area where she discovers Inhuman containment units and Andrew (Blair Underwood). Andrew wants to be set free, but Simmons is afraid he’ll turn into Lash (Matthew Willig). He promises her he won’t hurt her, only Hydra. Troops close in on Simmons so she frees Andrew, unleashing Lash on the soldiers, decimating them. Daisy tells Mack her team is in but they’re still bogged down. Bobbi says she handle it and jumps the unknowing guards, clearing a path to link up with Daisy. As Simmons tries to escape the castle grounds, she is met by a guard who is knifed in the back by May. Simmons is relieved then tells May about Andrew, which leads May to go back in for him.
The two teams link up at the portal where they debate what their strategy is for getting Fitz and Coulson out of there. Lincoln believes they should destroy the portal just in case Fitz and Coulson are already dead and something else goes through it. As they discuss the plan, Mack notices May is missing and Simmons tells him she went after Andrew. May goes back, but all she finds is slime, twisted metal and a severed arm. He turned into Lash and killed every human and Inhuman in that area. Hydra troops start to breach the portal room by order of Malick. Mack orders his team to evacuate to the jet and if he, Fitz and Coulson are not out when Hydra troops get in, May is to be his successor and give the order to fire upon the castle, destroying it, the portal and everyone inside. Daisy stays, arguing she can hold the portal open long enough and she is his partner. The two do everything they can but Hydra manages to breach and is closing in so Mack gives the order to May ahead of time to blow the castle. As chaos ensues, the four members use a containment transport to make it to the ship alive and well. Fitz comforts Simmons when he tells her Will didn’t make it and Lincoln and Daisy share a kiss. In a final cut scene Malick’s limo is stopped short and when he looks up, he sees Ward, but as a zombie-like alien.
I personally couldn’t have asked for a better episode. “Maveth” resolved the alien planet and portal story arcs, but had us asking new questions about the future of Hydra. The action was incredible and kept me engaged in the show and wanting more for the second half of the season starting March 8.
While we won’t have S.H.I.E.L.D. to watch for a while, another fan favorite will return to fill the void on January 19, Agent Carter, starring the lovely and talented Hayley Atwell. Be sure to tune in for the two hour season premiere.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9pm on ABC. Check your local listings.